Fujitsu Airs Low-end Servers with Mainframe Features

Fujitsu Technology Solutions (FTSI) Wednesday released two new Unix machines for the entry-level market that feature the high-end capabilities of mainframes, which analysts say make them the most powerful machines for the low-end market.

FTSI’s Primepower 250 and 450 models are high-performing servers with smaller footprints than comparable machines from rivals IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems. Solaris compatible and SPARC compliant, the servers extend to the network’s edge customer-facing systems and applications.

The play is consistent with the broad industry trend of crafting powerful machines at low price points for cost-conscious customers in a time when infrastructure spending is weak. The new servers are targeted at smaller businesses who need more power but can’t afford to upgrade to larger servers. FTSI joins the fray as the latest competitor looking for a piece of that pie, as rivals regularly undercut each other by offering products that provide more value for less money.

Vernon Turner, group vice president, Global Enterprise Server Solutions at IDC, approved of the new servers.

“Fujitsu’s new generation of servers bring high-end system performance to the low end that has not been seen to date,” Turner said. “As customer performance demands continue to increase at the entry level, Fujitsu’s Primepower 250 and 450 are addressing the most urgent computing needs by giving customers mainframe-like capabilities, reliability, and availability.”

Sunnyvale, Calif.’s FTSI has fitted the 250 and 450 with new self-healing and self-monitoring architecture features to safeguard businesses from downtime due to failure. They can also be connected via the Web, e-mail or private connection to remote monitoring services to address problems. FTSI had previously only made such features available in its midrange and higher-end models.

eXtended System Control Function (XSCF) technology boosts the reliability of all functions within the server to an autonomic self-healing capability, making way for reduced operational costs.

Primepower Marketing Manager Tom Donnelly said the industry has come to a point where “you can’t make any servers without them” because customer demand for autonomic computing is so high.

Donnelly said another carry-over from the high-end models is a feature called “hardware instruction retry,” a characteristic endemic to FTSI’s Primepower line that lets the machines retry a failed instruction at the hardware level, enabling the instruction to be retried without tinkering with the software buffers.

Donnelly said Primepower 250 and 450 compete with myriad models from rivals. He said the 250 competes with Sun’s Sun Fire 240R and 280R in terms of price, is more powerful than the 240R and a tad less powerful than the 280R. The 450, meanwhile, is comparable to the Sun Fire 480R. He also said Primepower 250 rivals IBM’s pSeries 610 while the 450 compares to the pSeries 630 in price and performance. As for HP, the 250 and 450 compare with that vendor’s RP2400 and RP5400, respectively.

The Primepower 250 and 450 machines are equipped with two to four 1.1 GHz processors, respectively, and perform up to six simultaneous instructions. They offer 1 MB of on-chip Second Level Cache and larger disk capacity to address edge server needs. Pricing starts from $7500 for the 250, while the 450 starts at $26,900.

In related news, Fujitsu announced performance upgrades to its Primepower 8-way 650 midrange and 16-way 850 high-end servers, respectively. Both systems will now feature 1.08 GHz SPARC64 V processors, with upgrades up to 1.35 GHz in future product enhancements.